When I was a little girl, we started a family tradition of decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Mama would go and find the biggest, fullest, real evergreen tree she could find, filling our home with the natural smell of pine.
We’d spent hours decorating it and embellishing the rest of the house while we were at it. She would make a little village with the homes that lit up, and even sprinkled some fake snow. Present would begin to appear under the tree, and to my little mind – the more the merrier!
Our church would attempt to have some little Christmas program (I was church of Christ at the time), and all the sermons would have something to do with having joy, being kind, and the birth of Jesus.
Our town would prep with dazzling lights and signs everywhere, and stores – oh goodness. The stores were prepared for their biggest shopping season yet. It’s always been like that, but fast forward twenty-five years and it’s safe to say that this is one holiday that has definitely become over-commercialized.
Although I was raised to believe that Jesus was born on (or around) December 25, decorated with the best of them, and looked forward to all the gifts and time of fellowship – I no longer celebrate Christmas.
For my husband Bryan, it was an easy choice for him. Although he was also raised to do the whole Christmas thing, he says none of the holidays really meant anything to him to begin with. The gifts were nice. The food was good. And hanging out with family was alright. But he said deep down there wasn’t real a connection.
It wasn’t so easy for me because there was a connection. I connected Christmas to a time of decorating, getting together with family, giving gifts, and celebrating the Messiah’s birthday. But now I know better.
Here are 7 reasons why we no longer celebrate Christmas:
1. Christmas is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible.
Nope. Trust me, I looked. It’s not there. It’s actually becoming increasingly obvious that the Christmas holiday is nowhere to be found in Scripture, but rarely are people giving it a second thought. The books of the New Testament alone cover 30+ years of the Messiah’s life, and even that following His death, burial, and resurrection. But nowhere do we find that the disciples or anyone else celebrated anything close to Christmas.
Yes, you can read about the prophecies of a coming King. Yes, you can read about the angelic appearance announcing what’s about to go down. And yes, you can even read about His actual birth in Bethlehem. But you won’t find any notion that Christmas (or anything like it) was celebrated, nor expected by us to celebrate.
2. The Messiah was not born on December 25.
I believed for years that the Messiah was born on December 25. And when I say years, I’m talking about majority of my 34 years here on earth. It wasn’t until several years ago that I realized that He was not born on this day and that this time of year actually holds other deep significance (more on that later).
Simply put, once you understand how time and seasons work beyond the comfort of your own home (and with a little research), you’ll see that the story mentioned in the Bible doesn’t quite line up with a December baby. Sure, there were babies born all through the winter in Bethlehem, but not the Messiah.
In Luke 2:8 is where we read about the shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. It just so happens that in December, the weather is super cold, wet, and rainy around Bethlehem. How many shepherds do you know that would keep his flock outside during that time? Basically, weather didn’t permit that to be so.
Another key point to look at is the fact that Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem for for Roman census. Contrary to popular belief, the folks back in those days were smart. The Roman administrators would not have conducted a census in the dead of winter with crazy weather conditions.
3. Christmas is a recycled pagan tradition.
Don’t get mad (if you haven’t already) just yet. I know this one cuts. At least it cut me when I found out the history behind Christmas. It may not have been so easy to research back in the day, but now that we’re living in digital times, any and everything is a Google search away.
The first things to consider with Christmas are the customs. It’s always associate with evergreen trees, holly, mistletoe, yule logs, Santa, his reindeer, and visits to every home to reward good children. None of this has anything to do with the Messiah, let alone His birth.
I know that nowadays churches like to “Christianize” it by adding a 3-wise-men story and a musical, but it still doesn’t make it right. Back to those customs, while they have nothing to do with the Messiah, they have everything to do with ancient pagan festivals – down to the date of December 25.
I invite you to do the research yourself, but here’s a little preview:
The tradition of celebrating December 25 as Christ’s birthday came to the Romans from Persia. Mithra, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts, was born out of a rock on December 25. Rome was famous for its flirtations with strange gods and cults, and in the 3rd century the unchristian emperor Aurelian established the festival of Dies Invicti Solis, the Day of the Invincible Sun, on December 25.” (- Historians Gerard and Patricia Del Re)
It’s a hard pill to swallow but virtually all the customs associated with Christmas are recycled from ancient pagan festivals honoring other gods.
4. YHVH condemns using pagan customs to worship Him.
Please re-read that. YHVH, the Most High God condemns… not Michelle condemns. Not Bryan condemns. And not every other Biblical-feast-keeping believer condemns. YHVH condemns, and this is what He says about it:
Guard yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire about their mighty ones, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their mighty ones? And let me do so too.’Do not do so to YHVH your Elohim, for every abomination which YHVH hates they have done to their mighty ones, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their mighty ones. All the words I am commanding you, guard to do it – do not add to it nor take away from it. (Deuteronomy 12:30-32)
Since Christmas is supposedly a day to celebrate the Messiah, it’s a good idea to take heed to what the Father is telling us not to do, and pay even more attention to what He is telling us what to do. And before you say, “Oh that’s Old Testament.” Let’s go to the New Testament where Paul brings this point back up (in 2 Corinthians 6). He addresses pagan versus holy practices:
And what agreement has Messiah with Beliya’al? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what union has the Dwelling Place of Elohim with idols? For you are a Dwelling Place of the living Elohim, as Elohim has said, “I shall dwell in them and walk among them, and I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.” Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says YHVH, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you. And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says YHVH the Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:15-18)
The point I’m making here is instead of relabeling pagan customs as Christian, or allowing believers to continue in pagan practices, be bold for the Father and leave those customs behind. Seek to worship the Father as He commands.
5. Christmas is worshiping YHVH in vain.
I’m sure at this point you understand how serious this is. But just in case you still need a little more convincing, let’s talk about how YHVH does not want to be worshiped. No matter how much people attempt to make Christmas about the Messiah, it’s still a jumble of ancient pagan practices. Period. Exclamation point.
The question now becomes, “Does YHVH honor or accept such worship?” For the sake of those who tremble at the Old Testament, let’s see what the Messiah Himself said about it:
And He answering, said to them, ‘Well did Yeshayahu (Isaiah) prophesy concerning you hypocrites, as it has been written, ‘This people respect Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching as teachings the commands of men.’ Forsaking the command of Elohim, you hold fast the tradition of men.’ (Mark 7:6-8)
The Messiah did a lot of correcting with those Pharisees and scribes because they added all types of nonsense to the simple commands laid out by the Father since the beginning of creation. This is no different today, as there is nothing new under the sun. The issue then was washing hands before eating… fast forward to today and it’s celebrate a holiday not even commanded.
Here a little more of a history lesson: in the 17th century Christmas was actually outlawed in England and some parts of the American colonies because of its unbiblical and pagan origins!
6. We can’t put the Messiah in something He was never in to begin with.
Over time, more and more people are seeing issues with a lot of Christian customs, especially Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. To combat it, we now see signs and even churches taking on taglines like, “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “put Christ back in Christmas.” However, it’s impossible to put Christ back in something He was never in to begin with.
The word Christmas, nor any of it’s customs, were something celebrated and honored by His people before Him, during His lifetime, nor after Him. Those proclaiming to be followers of this Messiah would not be observing pagan traditions. It comes down to the harsh realization that people would much rather try to justify a long-standing man-made tradition rather than what the Bible tells us we should do.
7. There are other traditions for us to do.
I never realized how much man-made traditions messed up YHVH’s plan for His people until I stepped away from doing them. I was all in for being part of every Christmas play, every choir performance, every bell ringing, every parade, and so on. I believed that I was doing good, and not just good for people, but good for the Father and Messiah.
I was never once told by any pastor, teacher, or congregational leader that Christmas and Easter were not part of Scripture. Even worse is admitting that I never looked. I never tested what was being taught against what the Bible said. So in hindsight, it was my fault too.
After studying about the traditions kept by 98% of Christian churches, it didn’t take long to realize that I was not honoring the Father. It did take awhile to get out of the habit though. And it took even longer to muster up enough boldness to explain to family and friends that we would no longer be celebrating Christmas (or Easter, Halloween, etc.).
As I heard it said once, “It’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle!” And in the case of ceasing to observe man-made traditions and doing what the Father says, this is evermore true. The good news, however, is that it is possible. With researching, seeking, and praying – it can be done, and is being done by people all throughout the world.
The Holy, set-apart days we are instructed to keep do not remove the significance and importance of the Messiah. Instead, they shine a forever light on Him and the grace and mercy bestowed by the Father. YHVH is very strategic with His plan for His people and we have to decide if we are going to be His people by doing what He says.
Take time to read about the Biblical feast days. At first it may seem far off, far fetched, or not doable. But they are. No, we don’t have a temple to go to. No, we don’t have to slaughter and make sacrifices in our back yards. And no, we may not get it 100% right. But there is honor in attempting to do what the Father says, and there is reward wrapped in obedience.
And just in case you’re thinking that all of this was done away with when the Messiah was crucified… check out 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Acts 20:6, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, Acts 2:1, Acts 20:16, Acts 27:9, John 7:2, and John 7:10. You’ll see throughout these Scriptures that even after the Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection they kept Passover, observed Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, the Day of Atonement (called “the Fast”), and the Feast of Tabernacles.
How do I trade tradition for Truth?
Hopefully this is a question that you are willing to not only ask yourself, but also put into action. I hate to say it but if you plan on actually following through with it, it won’t be easy. You will be met with all sorts of opposition, doctrinal damnation, and ridiculous ridicule. Your family will think you’re crazy, and your church will think you’ve been brainwashed by some cult.
All that aside, decide first and foremost that you want the things of God. Make up your mind that His Truth will always trump tradition and know that it will be worth the cost. Next, I suggest researching the history of all the traditions that you currently observe. And please don’t stop at the first article that sides with your current beliefs. Come at this research as unbiased as possible because trust me, you will always find something that sides with your opinion.
Then start researching the days commanded as Set-apart by the Father. This is another journey that you’ll have to navigate man-made things added to it. I’m speaking specifically about the difference between what Orthodox Judaism says is right and what the Father says is right. To be safe, don’t add to or take away from what the Word says.
Also keep in mind the day and age in which we live in. You will come across things that seem impossible to do because there is no way to do them. In those moments, don’t force something to try and make it right or line up. If the instruction says to not work, don’t work. If it says to slaughter a two-year old spotless calf, well… obviously you don’t have to do that.
When it comes down to it, ask yourself these questions:
Will I do things YHVH’s way, or my way? Will I worship Him His way, or my way? Will I observe His Set-apart days, or my inherited religion traditions?
You are not the only one.
Please know that we, you, and anyone else pursuing Truth are not the only ones. It may look like it and feel like it, but we are here. There are more and more people coming to the knowledge of a truly set-apart lifestyle, learning what it looks like, and making a point to walk it out.
If you have read this entire blog post, then please hear my heart when I say that I am not condemning you. I am simply trying to help you. My husband and I know what it’s like to test everything you’ve ever been taught in Christianity only to come out with faith that God is real, the Messiah is real, and the Holy Spirit is real. Pretty much everything else had to go.
So here we are… learning to navigate through anger and resentment at the lies passed off as truth. Learning how to stand strong when family, friends, and church members show another side that is less than “godly.” And learning how to simply do what the father says.
If and when you find yourself in this place and are looking for support, we are here for you.
FINAL DISCLAIMER: If you choose to comment on this post, please keep several things in mind… there is nothing wrong with tradition, until it trumps Truth. Also, there are a lot of pagan-rooted things down to the names of the days of the week; however, the biggest difference is are those things being used to worship the Most High? Saying Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or even having a picture of your family or favorite animal hanging on your wall is not being used to worship YHVH. So, please do not allow ignorance to take over and make this post about who is holier than the next. It comes down to loving the Father and living this life by His design.